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Martin pleads guilty to cousin’s 1995 death

Nearly 25 years after Joseph B. Martin died on the railroad tracks near Washington Street, his cousin confessed to his death.

Tuesday morning, Lonnie Martin, 46, pleaded guilty in Clark Circuit Court to first-degree manslaughter   for the Oct. 29, 1995 incident.

“We got into an argument,” Lonnie Martin told Clark Circuit Judge Jean Chenault Logue. “We’d been drinking. We wanted to go to our grandfather’s house. One thing led to another. He tried to force himself on me. I did what I thought was right. I defended myself and used too much physical force.”

Winchester Police said Joseph Martin fell from the overpass on Washington Street and landed on the railroad tracks below. He was later struck by a train.

Police investigated the death in 1995 and suspected foul play, but were not able to charge anyone, though Lonnie Martin was a suspect.

In 2013, Lonnie Martin was arrested in connection with the disappearance and death of Winchester resident Kyla Kline. Her remains were found in a shallow grave on a farm near the Clark-Montgomery county line.

Following his arrest, Winchester Police detectives interviewed Lonnie Martin about his cousin’s death. Statements made during that conversation led police to reopen the investigation, and ultimately charged him with murder.

The plea agreement calls for Martin to serve 11 years, though he may be eligible to meet the parole board after serving half of the sentence. He has been incarcerated for about seven years already.

Prosecutors said the sentence would run concurrently with his sentences from Montgomery County: 10 years after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter for Kline’s death and another five years for an unrelated assault. Martin’s Montgomery County sentences were to be served consecutively for a total of 15 years.

Lonnie Martin is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 17 in Clark County.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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